Do You Care About EXIF Data?

This short article asks a simple question of readers, “Do you care about EXIF data?”

EXIF stands for exchangeable image file format. This is the information that your digital camera automatically embeds into photographs, including shutter speed, aperture, ISO, lens focal length, white balance etc. 

NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. This article includes some images acting as visual breaks. Many of these photographs may be included in my upcoming bird photography eBook.

Nikon 1 J5 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 215.5 mm, efov 581.9 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-3200

On a personal basis, reviewing EXIF data on our images can be enlightening. This is especially true when we are trying to determine the underlying reasons why an image failed to meet expectations.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/160, ISO-1600

So, the first part of my question deals with your potential use of EXIF data embedded in your photographs. The second part of my question is about your potential interest in the EXIF that I include with my images used on this website.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 300 mm, efov 810 mm, f/5.6, 1/1600, ISO-400

Many photographers strip EXIF data out of the image files they post online as they view this information as a ‘trade secret’. Quite simply they do not want to share this information with other people. With very few exceptions, I’ve made it a practice to include EXIF data on the images that I share on this website. I must admit that I sometimes wonder whether most readers care about having EXIF data posted here or not.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor 30-110 mm f/3.8-5.6 @ 110 mm, efov 297 mm, f/5.6, 1/2500, ISO-400

I have not been able to find a good WoodPress plug-in that will automatically determine the EXIF data on images I post on this website, then automatically display that information under each photograph. So, I have to manually enter this information on each image that I post. I certainly do not mind taking the time to do this work. It would be great to know if you folks care about it and use it.

Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 280.3 mm, efov 756.8 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-160

I am planning on including some basic EXIF data for each photograph in my upcoming bird photography eBook. This would include focal length, equivalent field-of-view (efov) if applicable, aperture, shutter speed and ISO. I am not planning to include camera and lens information for each photograph as it makes the eBook pages look a bit cluttered. General camera and lens information will be included in the front of the eBook.

Nikon 1 V2 + Nikkor 70-200 mm f/4 @ 200 mm, efov 540 mm, f/4.5, 1/2500, ISO-160. FT-1 adapter used.

So, please let me know… “Do you care about EXIF data?”

Should I keep including EXIF data with my images on this website?

If any readers are aware of a good EXIF data WordPress plug-in please let me know!

Technical Note:
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held in available light using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.

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38 thoughts on “Do You Care About EXIF Data?”

    1. Hi Steve,

      The plug-in has not be tested with my version of WordPress, so I am a bit hesitant to use it. I will need to have my webmaster investigate this further.

      Thanks again,
      Tom

    2. Hi Steve,
      I’ve been working with my webmaster with the plug-in you suggested, as well as another one that was tested with my version of WordPress. We have been unable to get either one of them to work at all with the WordPress theme we use… so I will continue with the Excel spreadsheet, then manual entry of EXIF data. Thanks again for your support.
      Tom

  1. I find the EXIF data for each photo valuable. I don’t shoot with mirrorless, but a DSLR. So the data in informative whenever I’m trying to do the same thing in the field. What also would be helpful is for you to provide when the 20fps of the Nikon 1 was valuable in capturing the image, which would not be possible with a DSLR (unless one is very lucky).

    1. Hi Wei Chong,

      Thanks for sharing your thoughts about the importance of EXIF data! I typically indicated in the body copy of an article (or in the Technical Note) if I was shooting in continuous auto focus (AF-C) and using a fast frame rate like 15 fps, 20 fps or higher. If the article doesn’t state that information then you can assume that I was shooting single frames.

      Tom

  2. Hi Tom,

    Of course, I do find the EXIF important especially if I like the image and I want to find out how it was shot, what equipment was used (camera body, lens, aperture, shutter speed, et al). It’s an excellent way of learning from other photographers. In your case, it’s one way of demonstrating the capabilities of the gear you use as well as implicitly conveying your skill in using the system to achieve the results you want.

    Oggie
    http://www.lagalog.com

  3. Yes and Yes. First thing I look at before I even enlarge the images. Still absorbing as much info as possible and appreciate all the data I can get.

  4. Yes, I do, Tom … I look at EXIF data on your photos out of interest – and as educative/instructive – – explaining how you achieved a particular shot … eg. what shutter speed needed to freeze birds’ wings.

    John

  5. Seeing others EXIF data has helped me identify when I should use higher ISO to increase shutter speed and reduce image blur from camera motion versus using lower ISO for less noise. This trade off occurs often when shooting telephoto shots with smaller sensor cameras, and especially when photographing moving subjects. Everything you do on your web site is helpful to others and is greatly appreciated!

  6. Thomas, I appreciate the effort required to enter the exif data, but I always find it useful. Since I have just started using a camera with a 1″ sensor, your website is a source of technical information and wisdom that I greatly value! Thank you for all you do! Glen

  7. I read the EXIF data for many of the photos posted and am glad it is there as it helps me understand how you take the photos. I can see that it can be a lot of extra work to do. Maybe that is one reason many photographers do not show it.

  8. I look at every photo and read every photo’s exif data. Thank you for your help in learning from your images. I appreciate your efforts.

  9. Personally I feel that the EXIF data displayed is a little repetitive. Frequently you will open with a paragraph that says you used Camera A with Lens B for the photos in an article, and then repeat that info below each picture. Perhaps just saying “A mm, f/B, speed C, ISO-D” would be sufficient. As far as the “efov”, a sentence within the article can explain that “A mm” times 2.7 would provide that value, or you could include with the above four.
    If an article has pictures from more than one camera, at best just add “V2”, “V3” or “J5”. I believe that most readers know these are Nikon cameras. In a lot of cases the “A mm” would tell us which lens was used.
    If, however, you felt the need to include the lens, then I would suggest the following: “J5 + 1 Nikkor 70-300”, or “V3 + 1 Nikkor 10-100”. A lot shorter and less typing for you. The complete lens description is not needed. There are not that many 1 Nikkor lenses out there.
    To me, where you focused is sometimes of more interest, however I understand the difficulty of easily explaining that. My $0.02 for what it is worth.

    1. Hi William,

      I always appreciate you $0.2 worth! I agree that the EXIF information displayed is often quite repetitive. I like your suggestion that I could potentially cut down some of the details by noting the camera and lens upfront in an article, if that combination was used for all of the images displayed in that particular posting. The shortened lens description suggestion has merit.

      Tom

  10. I like the EXIF as displayed under your photographs and find it very informative.
    Nikon 1 V2 + 1 Nikkor CX 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 280.3 mm, efov 756.8 mm, f/5.6, 1/2000, ISO-160

  11. Hi Tom, yes, I look for the EXIF all the time. I use this information to compare with what I am doing. Most of the time they are so close.

    1. Hi Jack,
      It’s good to know that your regularly use the EXIF data! It helps to confirm that the additional time it takes me to manually put the EXIF data on my images is time well spent!
      Tom

    1. Thanks for your input Mark! I appreciate your comment about wanting more information about where an image was captured, or the reasons behind it. Hopefully I have been doing that to at least some extent in the past, and I will endeavour to provide that type of information in the future for you.

      Tom

  12. Since subscribing to your blog I’ve read every caption with EXIF data to see how it relates back to the image. For me it’s a way of learning; for you, it sounds like a real pain to have to manually insert that information. Sadly, I’m unaware of any plug-ins to handle the process. Hoping you can hang in there until you find something that does the trick. I’m grateful for the data.

    1. Hi Dan,

      Thanks for adding to the discussion with your comment! Having to insert the EXIF data manually does take some time, but I do not view it as ‘a real pain’. The bottom line really is whether readers find that information useful. As long as it is helpful for readers then I have no hesitation whatsoever continuing to put the EXIF data on my images.

      Tom

  13. Hi!
    My anwser is No and Yes.
    No – when i look at a picture i like more and more to enjoy the “view” -witch is the case around here?
    Yes – when something puzzels me, either about the subject, background, foreground or “how the hell he/she pull that out”- so in this case i like to understand the behind the scene story – kind off.
    I give you an example. I recently had the oportunity/joy to visit an exibition from Joel Sartore and his project Ark. No Exif but i was deligth with some behind the scenes small videos.

  14. EXIF data are important. I look for them in many of your photos. They are one of the educational facets of your website. J. Luke

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